22 Oct 2013

Fire destroys two Cook Islands schools

7:11 am on 22 October 2013

The Cook Islands community of Rarotonga is reeling after two schools went up in flames on Sunday local time.

Six classrooms at Nukutere College were burned to the ground after a fire was reported just after 1 in the morning.

A second fire was reported at Avatea School in Nikao just after 4 in the afternoon.

The Cook Islands News reports fire services were unable to respond immediately to the Nukutere College fire due to three aircraft arriving at the Rarotonga International Airport at the same time.

Nukutere College was also hit by fire in 2006.

Authorities are investigating to find out the cause of the fires.

The Cook Islands news reports the government has committed to rebuilding the classrooms in time for the start of the new school year.

The Finance Minister Mark Brown says he will look at bringing in outside help like forensic scientists to determine if the fires were the work of arsonists.